Matt LaFleur wanted to send message to Aaron Rodgers with Jordan Love pick?
The Green Bay Packers made one of the most surprising picks of the 2020 NFL Draft when they traded up in the first round to select quarterback Jordan Love. While Matt LaFleur insists that does not mean Aaron Rodgers is on borrowed time with the team, at least one longtime Packers reporter believes the head coach was sending Rodgers a message with the pick.
Bob McGinn, who has covered the Packers for roughly 40 years, was highly critical of the team’s draft in his latest column for The Athletic. While he’s not sold on Jordan Love as an NFL prospect, McGinn thinks it is fair to wonder if the Packers will want to get out from under Rodgers’ contract in the next year or two if he doesn’t rediscover his MVP form or something close to it.
The Packers took former Boston College star running back AJ Dillon in the second round and declined to use any of their eight picks on a wide receiver, which has led to increased speculation that they could look to become more of a running team next season. A change in philosophy like that might not sit well with Rodgers, which is why McGinn believes the decision to trade up to No. 26 for Love indicates LaFleur has “simply had enough of Rodgers’ act and wanted to change the narrative.”
If Love succeeds in his first NFL offseason, that could put pressure on Rodgers in one of two ways. For one, it might inspire the 36-year-old to check his ego if he feels like a youngster is breathing down his neck. Or, better yet for the Packers, Love’s presence could light a fire under Rodgers and create a situation similar to the one when the New England Patriots used a second-round pick on Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2014. Tom Brady went on to lead the Pats to three more Super Bowl wins after that, and there’s no question the team’s decision to draft Garoppolo motivated him.
If the Packers viewed Love as a long-term backup and nothing more, there’s no way they would have traded up and used a first-round pick on him. Rodgers appears to be taking the addition of Love in stride, but the situation will be one to monitor — especially if it creates tension between Rodgers and LaFleur.